Brandon Morrow wasn’t about to hang his head after coming inches away from a no-hitter. The Blue Jays pitcher still tossed his first shutout – first complete game, in fact – and struck out a career-high 17 batters.
“Those things combined were more than enough to overcome the feeling of the missed no-hitter,” said Morrow, who allowed only Evan Longoria’s single with two outs in the ninth inning of a 1-0 home victory over Tampa Bay on Sunday. “That would have been a great feat, but I’ll start at a complete-game, one-hit shutout with 17 strikeouts.”
The crowd of 22,313 gave Morrow, a former Seattle Mariner, a standing ovation as he took the mound in the ninth.
Jason Bartlett flied out to center, Ben Zobrist walked on four pitches and Carl Crawford popped out to bring up Longoria, who took a shaky swing at a 1-1 pitch and hit a grounder the other way. Second baseman Aaron Hill scooted to his left and made a dive as the ball took its third hop, and it fell out of his glove and trickled away as he hit the ground.
Official scorer Dave Perkins, a retired Toronto Star writer working just his third game, wasted no time in making the call.
“I won’t lose any sleep over it. That’s a base hit all the way,” Perkins said.
Vernon Wells drove in the only run for Toronto before leaving with a dislocated toe, which happened when he made a leaping catch against the wall in the sixth inning to preserve Morrow’s no-hit bid. Wells stayed down briefly before jogging slowly off the field.
X-rays did not reveal any fractures but Wells will undergo further tests today.
Toronto got the only run it needed in the first, when Yunel Escobar walked and was running when Jose Bautista grounded to third. Escobar beat the return throw and slid in safe at third, then scored when Wells followed with a bloop single to shallow right.
Cubs skipper Piniella tends to ailing mom
Manager Lou Piniella headed to Florida to tend to his ailing mother and did not accompany the Chicago Cubs on their trip to San Francisco.
Piniella will be away from the team for at least a few days to visit his mother in Tampa, Fla. He hopes to rejoin the Cubs at some point on the six-game trip to San Francisco and St. Louis.
Piniella also missed three games recently to attend his uncle’s funeral.
Dodgers’ Anderson replaced with Gibbons
Outfielder Garret Anderson was designated for assignment by the Los Angeles Dodgers, who purchased the contract of outfielder-first baseman Jay Gibbons from Triple-A Albuquerque.